Ruiz de Zarobe, Y. (Ed.) (2016). Content and Language Integrated Learning. Language Policy and Pedagogical Practice.
This book is a welcome and timely contribution to the CLIL context as the outburst of diverse variants of the CLIL approach continue to expand around the world and investigation on this phenomenon is still much needed. The volume brings together solid empirical contributions with the aim of providing new insights into language policy issues and pedagogical practices, and offering an integrating vision of these two aspects. However, the book does not limit itself to that issue, and actually shows evidence of the need for general guidelines and national policies, on the one hand, and grassroots initiatives, on the other, which need to go hand in hand to make successful teaching and learning processes come to life.
Reflecting the variety of the field, the nine chapters that give form to this book provide thorough and comprehensible accounts of CLIL realities, showing a smooth transition from policy-level to classroom-based evidence and investigation, thus tying these two key aspects together and underscoring the importance of their interweaving.
The first chapter, "Listening to learners: an investigation into 'successful learning' across CLIL contexts", explores the perceptions of successful learning from the perspectives of secondary-level CLIL students, focusing on individual CLIL classroom events and comparing across schools. The second chapter, "The power of beliefs: lay theories and their influence on the implementation of CLIL programmes", goes further and delves into students' and teachers' lay beliefs regarding the implementation of a CLIL programme in Austrian upper secondary colleges of technology. The third chapter, "CLIL in junior vocational secondary education: challenges and opportunities for teaching and learning", examines bilingual curriculum implementation at school and classroom level within the context of junior vocational secondary education, especially analysing students from the lower academic levels of these programs. The fourth chapter, "CLIL in Sweden --why does it not work? A metaperspective on CLIL across contexts in Europe", offers a comparison of the CLIL profiles of four different European countries by employing a coordinate system that enables the contrastive analysis between four main factors (policy framework, amount of research, age factor, and quantity of input). The next chapter, "Curricular models of CLIL education in Poland", narrows its focus down to accounting for four curricular models of CLIL education in Poland varying in their proportions of L2 use, their focal point of instruction and the educational level at which CLIL is adopted. In contrast, chapters six, "Learning to become a CLIL teacher: teaching, reflection and professional development", and seven, "How CLIL can provide a pragmatic means to renovate science education --even in a sub-optimal bilingual context", offer analyses of CLIL from a classroom-based perspective. The former highlights the role played by Classroom Interactional Competence analysis as a raising-awareness tool employed in the case study of a pre-service CLIL teacher being trained in a Master's degree programme; the latter describes the collaboration of a Science teacher, an EFL teacher and a CLIL expert in the creation and development of a series of classroom activities that would scaffold students' learning of content and language by adopting a student-centred approach. Continuing at classroom level, chapter eight, "Genre-based curricula: multilingual academic literacy in content and language integrated learning", puts forward a multilingual genre-based, functional model to create CLIL-specific materials and carry out CLIL programmes. Finally, the last chapter, "Discussion: towards an educational perspective in CLIL language policy and pedagogical practice", provides a conclusion by going deeper into the main issues raised in the book, considering the next steps for future research, and making an explicit distinction between CLIL as a language teaching approach and as an educational one.
One of the most important vindications generally addressed in the book argues for the urgency of large-scale national policies that would facilitate and standardize the implementation of the CLIL approach across contexts. Such official protocols may derive from the evaluation of the different educational needs and may ensure the development of national CLIL curricula, common goals and learning outcomes, core methodological foundations, clear certification criteria, CLIL-specific materials and teacher training programs, to name but a few aspects. This need comes as the conclusion of most of the studies encompassed in the volume, which provide good evidence of the scarce and lax provision of CLIL language management as a common denominator in many European countries after close examination of their nation-specific CLIL curricular models.
This lack of common CLIL regulations is not only visible in the policy-level investigations in the volume, but is also informed by the more practice-based evidence studies that respond to the diversified CLIL implementations at classroom level. Teachers' and students' voices are echoed in this book claiming that successful learning would imply bringing about pedagogical changes in CLIL practices. Such findings help to bridge the existing gap between supra-national level theories and local grassroots initiatives.
The richness of these chapters also lies in the ample contextual range of countries under scrutiny, namely, Austria, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, UK and Spain, thus covering northern, central and southern European realities. Moreover, the book considers additional languages other than English as media of instruction and does not solely regard official state languages such as Spanish, German and French, but acknowledges minority languages as well (Kashubian, Gaelic, etc.).
To the integrative and encompassing nature of the collection we can add the fact that it combines studies delving into positive and successful aspects of CLIL, together with deep reflections and analyses of not-so-encouraging outcomes. In addition, underprivileged settings in which CLIL is also adopted as the educational approach to follow come into the equation. In fact, in these scenarios, CLIL appears to increase lower-achieving students' motivation and self-esteem, pushing them to make much more active contributions in their own learning and their collaborative classroom environment. Likewise, below-average learners remain the focus of study as far as their academic results are concerned, since these are assessed in the same way as those obtained by high-achievers. A further added value is to be found in the analysis of CLIL classroom practice not only from the perspective of the content expert or the language specialist, but through the collaboration between content and language teachers and CLIL experts. The great potential that the knowledge and expertise of these three professionals can offer to each other is unquestionable. Teacher education and reflection upon their own teaching practices are also of the utmost importance in CLIL settings.
Accordingly, the target audience of the book would encompass a variety of stakeholders, including content and language scholars, teacher educators, CLIL practitioners, policy makers, and any individual interested in gaining valuable knowledge of different CLIL implementation models across educational levels on a European scale. In particular, the collection compiled in this volume reveals specific CLIL realities, necessarily materialized in particular contexts, that could be extrapolated and serve as models for other settings. Additionally, it clearly emphasizes the importance of CLIL research, policies, and classroom practice informing each other in a process of mutual enrichment.
Davinia Sanchez Garcia
Universidad a Distancia de Madrid
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|Author:||Sanchez Garcia, Davinia|
|Publication:||Estudios sobre Educacion|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2016|
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